Juan Blanco, PhD

Juan is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Forest Sciences at the University of British Columbia. His current work is centered on the development and evaluation of ecological models to simulate the influences of management, climate and other ecological factors on tree growth. These models are then used to assess the long-term sustainability of current forest management practices and they are also an important tool in developing new management plans that include carbon sequestration, wildlife habitat, biodiversity conservation, bioenergy and other non-timber values. He is currently collaborating with research teams form Canada, Spain, Cuba and China in using ecological models to explore the effects of climate change, atmospheric pollution and alternative forest practices in natural and planted forest in the boreal, temperate and tropical areas. The results of his research have been published in several international scientific journals, book chapters and international conferences, and he has co-authored the first book dedicated exclusively to the use of ecological models in forest management, entitled "Forecasting Forest Futures".




Jennifer Karmona, MSc.

Jennifer works in the field of land management with the British Columbia provincial government. She works with a variety of clients to access public land for various land-based activities, e.g. quarrying, log handling, and small scale hydro-electric projects. A significant component of this work involves First Nations consultation and working with other resource ministries and stakeholders to mitigate the potential negative impacts of the proposed activity. 


Prior to joining the government, Jennifer worked for an international NGO in Ghana, West Africa. Her focus was on program implementation and communications for projects related to the problem of illegal logging activities.



Renata Leal Almaraz, MSc.

After studying psychology, Renata completed graduate school in France where she studied anthropology with a focus on land and natural resources management. She has worked in the private sector, academia and non-governmental organizations. Renata's work conceptualizes programs to promote public participation in natural resource management and to reduce the impact of human land use activities on the environment. She has conducted capacity-building workshops to foster local project administration and coordination skills, and has also developed methodologies to promote public participation in community planning initiatives. Her most recent research is focused on social behavior and public perceptions of land use patterns, and also the relationship between traditional knowledge and biodiversity conservation. Renata's experience includes urban and rural projects in Mexico and Central America. She currently works on promoting organic agriculture in urban and rural areas.


María Elena de la Torre Escoto, PhD.

After studying architecture, María Elena completed her PhD. in Spain, at the Polytechnic University of Cataluña, where she studied urbanism and land use planning. She has collaborated on several research and urban projects at different scales in Europe and Latin America, with a focus on public space and conservation of natural areas. Currently, she belongs to the Latin America Network for Architectural Research (www.redIALA), based in Barcelona. The objective of this network is to reclaim public spaces and revalue periurban natural areas, in cities within Latin America. This network promotes stakeholders´ collaboration through workshops, research, teaching and public exhibitions. Maria Elena is currently coordinating a research project with this network for the city of Guadalajara to restore the periferia area (Barranca del Rio Santiago). She was recently the coordinator for the Non-motorized Mobility Plan for the Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, and she is also part of the NGO Ciuadad para Todos (http://ciudadparatodos.org), where she is currently promoting the improvement of public spaces in Guadalajara.